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Hancai Dan, MBBS, PhD

Academic Title:

Associate Professor

Primary Appointment:



BRB, 09-054 (lab); BRB, 09-043 (office)

Education and Training

  • Wuhan University School of Medicine, M.B.B.S, Clinical Medicine, 1983-1988
  • Peking Union Medical College, M.S., Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 1995-1998
  • University of South Florida, Ph.D., Pathology and Cell Biology, 2000-2005
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Postdoctoral Fellow, Cancer Biology, 2005-2013


From 1988-2000, I worked as a head and neck cancer surgeon in Beijing, China. In 2000, I moved to the United States America as a PhD student in the University of South Florida and began my scientific career by studying the role of PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway in regulating tumor growth and cisplatin resistance in ovarian cancer. In 2005, I continued my research on PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway as a postdoctoral at Dr. Albert Baldwin’s laboratory in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I also expanded my studies to IKK/NF-κB signaling pathway while focusing on prostate cancer and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC).  At UNC, I explored the critical cross-talk of mTOR and NF-κB signaling pathways in controlling PTEN and TSC2-deficient human diseases. In 2013, I joined the University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center as an Assistant Professor and continued my studies on prostate cancer and TSC, while also extending back into the field of head and neck cancer. Currently, I have begun to translate my findings into new therapeutic approaches by testing inhibitors of the NF-κB/IKK and Akt/mTOR pathways in animal models.

Research/Clinical Keywords

Prostate Cancer, Castration Resistant Prostate Cancer (CRPC), Head & Neck Squamous Cell Cancer (HNSCC), Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC), Cisplatin Resistance, EGFR Inhibitor Resistance, Metastasis, Cancer Biology, IKK/NF-κB Pathway, PI3K/Akt/mTOR Pathway, Kinase Inhibitors, Mouse Models, Knockout Mouse Models, Patient-Derived Cell Culture, Patient-Derived Xenograft Models

Highlighted Publications

  1. Zhang Y, Lapidus RG, Liu P, Choi EY, Adediran S, Hussain A, Wang XH, Liu X, Dan HC. Targeting IκB kinase β/NF-κB signaling in human prostate cancer by a novel IκB kinase β inhibitor CmpdA. Mol Cancer Ther. 2016 Jul; 15(7):1504-14.
  2.  Li Z, Yang Z, Passaniti A, Lapidus RG, Liu X, Cullen KJ, Dan HC. A positive feedback loop involving EGFR/Akt/mTORC1 and IKK/NF-κB regulates head and neck squamous cell carcinoma proliferation. Oncotarget. 2016 May 31; 7(22):31892-906.
  3. Li Z, Yang Z, Lapidus RG, Liu X, Cullen KJ, and Dan HC. IKK phosphorylation of NF-κB at serine 536 contributes to acquired-cisplatin resistance in head and neck squamous cell cancer. Am J Cancer Res. 2015 Sep 15; 5(10):3098-110.
  4. Gao Y, Gartenhaus RB, Lapidus RG, Hussain A, Zhang Y, Wang X, and Dan HC.  Differential IKK/NF-κB Activity is mediated by TSC2 through mTORC1 in PTEN-null Prostate Cancer and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Tumor Cells. Mol Cancer Res. 2015 Dec; 13(12):1602-14.